On the 29-30th of September Europe-Georgia Institute, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom South Caucasus and Strategic Dialogue Center organized the Future of the Black Sea Region Conference (FLEECE). The conference lasted for two days. On the first day international experts and their colleagues from Georgia discussed the challenges and perspectives of Black Sea Region. On the second day the junior fellows of FLEECE, who participated in the mentorship program presented the Opinion Papers written by them. Additionally to this, the second day and the conference was finalized with the online interview with the former Ambassador of the US in Georgia – Ian C. Kelly.
Experts both from Georgia and other countries participated in the conference in the hybrid mode – some of them attended it in person, while others participated via the Zoom platform.
Democratic Development in Black Sea Region (Panel 3):
Shamil Shugaev (Moderator) (Georgia), Oleksiy Melnyk (Ukraine), Alex Petriashvili (Georgia), Yordan Bozhilov (Bulgaria), Dimitrios Triantaphyllou (Greece).
Mr. Melnyk started discussion of this panel with the confrontation between two models – Democratic and Authoritarian ones and their clash in Black Sea Region. He also talked about the reality, when the existence of threat leads to people’s demand for a strong hand – making them accept trade off between security and liberty, in the end – losing both of them. He also talked about the success of Ukraine as a threat for Putin’s authoritarian regime. Oleksyi Melnyk highlighted the importance of cooperation between those Black Sea actors which have things in common and underlined the significance of Crimean Platform in this regard. Dimitrios Triantaphyllou discussed the role of Turkey and the importance of its self-identification, which is important for clarifying its impact on the region. Mr. Bozhilov talked about the connection between Democracy and Security. He stated that Security is not defined only in Geographic terms and that there should be a much broader understanding of it. He highlighted the importance of resilience – resilience of democracy via building strong institutions and creating faith by people in those institutions. Mr. Petriashvili talked about internal challenges of Georgia – manoeuvres of Georgian Dream, which on the one hand pretends to be pro-Western, but in reality managed to de-rail Georgia from Western priorities – getting the country closer to the edge falling down and becoming the backyard of the Russian Federation again. He mentioned strategic projects that failed during the rule of Georgian Dream – namely Anaklia deep-sea port and Namakhvani HPP.